Gilead’s main competitor in the CLL market may be Pharmacyclics Inc. (PCYC), of Sunnyvale, California, which also has an experimental therapy in the final stage of testing needed for U.S. approval. Gilead’s drug, though, is being tested in combination with other medicines, while Pharmacyclics’ treatment is taken alone.
There’s probably room for both treatments, said Gregory Wade, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in San Francisco.
“There are about 115,000 people in U.S. alone with CLL,” Wade said in a telephone interview. “With common prices for these type drugs at $80,000 to $90,000 a year, it’s easy to see how you get to a very big number.”
Together, these drugs from Gilead and others “have the potential to completely change the landscape, where treating CLL with just targeted therapies, as opposed to the chemotherapies of the past,” said John Byrd, leukemia research professor at Ohio State University Medical Center, in a telephone interview.